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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  January 9, 2010 9:00am-9:59am EST

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or if you develop dental problems, as serious jawbone problems have been reported rarely. to get a free trial offer of once-a-month actonel visit and ask your doctor how once-a-month-actonel can help you reverse bone loss. it is msnbc saturday and it is bone chilling and fender bending. old man winter provides southern discomfort in icy fashion. coming up, live reports on the deep freeze in the deep south. also ahead, love at the airport alert. authorities finally catch up with the man who triggered that newark airport security crisis. but what does love have to do with it. the call of the wired. a new study on how your cell phone might save you from a devastating disease. rescue 911, the struggle to save a horse in troubled waters. good morning, efr morning, ever.
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i'm alex witt. we have all that to bring you this morning along with the major hurdle on the road to economic recovery. 60% of the country is feeling the full effect of winter weather. it is another day of sub-zero temperatures in the plains and more snow falling in the midwest. but it is dangerous ice on the roadways and in an around atlanta causing two dozen accidents so far. we can relate to this picture, we can't see enough of it. can you imagine being at the top of the road, seeing the black ice there, and slide out of control. that's pretty scary stuff. nbc's ron mott is in atlanta for us today. let's get the latest from there. any chance that the temperatures are going to allow the ice patches to melt? >> not today, alex. good saturday morning to you. i'll go ahead and put an all point bulletin out for the man who nicknamed this town hotlanta. it is 13 degrees now. with the windchill of a big fat zero. this is the coldest it has been for the longest stretch of weather we have seen here in this town since 1982.
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people are waking up going what in the world is going on? this is supposed to be the south. it is not going to get above freezing for another 24 to 36 hours. so all those wrecks we saw yesterday, there was one after another, after another, after another, were probably going to see again today because it is it is below 22 degrees. that's what is causing a lot of the problems because the mixture they put down on the road to melt the ice is actually melting it, but then quickly refreezing. we're seeing some troubles on the roadways again today. it is much better today than it was yesterday. yesterday people were driving on ice this thick this is about a two-inch chunk i picked up here on the sidewalk behind me. this is the stuff road crews are trying to get rid of today. they'll have their work cut out for them because it is 13 degrees, not expected to get much above 20, 25 degrees today and above 32 sometime tomorrow afternoon. a frigid day here in atlanta. back up to you, alex. >> cannot caution people enough to be careful on the roads. i tell you, that's a mess. >> absolutely. >> ron mott, thank you.
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coverage of the arctic blast of winter continues online. there you'll find more information on the low temperature records that are expected this weekend across southern florida. we'll have the forecast from nbc meteorologist bill karins ahead for you too. msnbc is the place for politics. president obama says he's setting aside billions of dollars to create green jobs as a new unemployment report shows figures far worse than expected. nbc's mike vicario joins me from the white house. good morning, mike. the president is trying to change the conversation in washington way from the terror stories that dominated the headlines. what is he saying about job creation? >> reporter: they're a little disappointed at the white house after the december numbers came out. the unemployment numbers. they hoped to see a decrease from double digits, at 10% as of november. but unfortunately for the white house and unfortunately for the millions of workers who are out of work it has remained at 10% for december. they do see hope on the horizon here. positive job growth expected in the first quarter, but they were
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disappointed with the numbers yesterday. those numbers exactly were 85,000 jobs lost in december. we also learned yesterday there was a revision for november that there were 4,000 jobs gained in november. the u.s. jobless rate stays at 10% for the second month in a row. the underemployment rate, that's when you counted everybody who is looking for a job or working part time when they want to be working full time at 17.3%. the president, as you mentioned, wants to turn the conversation back to the economy after the world has intruded with the attempted bombing on christmas day. he's talking about green jobs. he had an event yesterday, where he announced $2.3 billion in tax credits for solar -- things like solar energy, alternative energy, going some 183 companies across the united states. that comes from the stimulus package. and the administration estimate that's going to cost -- that will result in 17,000 jobs. they say with a lot of private sector partnerships and private
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sector capital, tens of thousands of more jobs could result. still, a drop in the bucket, but the white house and democrats hoping to turn the conversation back to all they're trying to do to turn the economy around and turn the unemployment rate around in a downward direction, alex. >> okay. mike from the white house. thanks, mike. for more on the job report including an interactive that will show you the changes in unemployment of the past three years you can head to our website, new this morning, a pakistani television station is airing a video of a man it claims is the double agent who killed cia employees in afghanistan. al jazeera says this footage shows human abu al balawi standing alongside the leader telling jihadists to avenge the deaths of pakistan's previous taliban chief, killed by a missile strike. nbc news has not confirmed that the speaker is al balawi. but al balawi is the man who blew himself up inside a cia facility in afghanistan.
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if it is al balawi it would confirm the taliban's claim of responsibility for that deadly attack. the 23-year-old nigerian man accused of trying to blow up that detroit bound plane on christmas says he's not guilty. yesterday in detroit umar abdulmutallab pleaded not guilty to six charges in his first court appearance. the charges include attempted murder and the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction to bring down a plane. the hearing drew a peaceful demonstration from the local muslim community. protesting against the violence of radicals. >> i feel like it is so important for us muslim americans to send out the message that we do not condone terrorism. we do not support terrorism in any way and terrorism is not a part of our religion whatsoever. >> al qaeda and the arabian peninsula -- given the number of witnesses on the plane in the alleged admissions the suspect made, the case is unlikely to make it all the way to trial. new developments this
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morning in that security breach at newark liberty international airport including an arrest in the case. that chaos began last sunday when a man walked through a security checkpoint leading the tsa to shut down one of the airport's terminals, terminal c, for tefseveral hours. that caused pretty major delays. michelle franzen is joining me with the latest. let's talk about the details you've got about this. >> the man believed to have created that security scare is 28-year-old doctoral student haisong jiang. he's a doctoral student at rutgers university. authorities took him into custody last night at his home and questioned him at newark international airport where the security breach occurred last sunday. he was charged with defiant trespassing and released. it is not a federal charge and it carries a fine of $500. the breach closed terminals for six hours, stranded thousands of passengers well into monday. the video shows a tsa agent leaving his post, moments later
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jiang reportedly slips past security and greets a woman and walks toward the gate. his roommates say it was jiang's girlfriend and that he is in love and wanted to say good-bye before her flight. new jersey senator frank lautenberg pushed for the surveillance video to be publicly released to help identify the suspect. he says the in love defense doesn't fly with him and thinks a harsher punishment should apply. >> did a stupid thing this was premeditated, that he looked for a chance to break into the system, and though apparently it was on a relatively benign mission, the fact of the matter is that what he did was a terrible injustice. >> security breach has raised questions for tsa and how airlines monitor video surveillance. the tsa agent is on administrative leave and could face disciplinary charges. jiang is set to appear in newark municipal court next week. alex? >> so, michelle, what do the
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airlines and tsa and lawmakers, what are they doing to make sure this doesn't happen again. >> they're looking at all the issues, how the video is maintained and kept. we could see congressional hearings out of this. we're also hearing that travelers also need to keep watch as well. >> yeah. okay. always be vigilant. thank you very much, michelle. and two more security incidents involving air travel to tell you about this morning. british police have arrested three people on board a passenger jet at london's heathrow airport for allegedly making verbal threats to staff. a police spokesman says all three were removed from the emirates plane yesterday before takeoff. british authorities searched the jet and said they didn't find anything dangerous. an unruly passenger on board an airtran flight forced that pilot to make an unscheduled stop in colorado. the flight was on its way from atlanta to san francisco when it diverted to colorado springs because a passenger had locked himself in the plane's bathroom. officials say the passenger was drunk. he was taken into custody after the plane landed. all of these incidents are
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adding to the concerns about aviation security. and they come on the heels of the tsa ordering more full body scanners to be deployed at airports across the country. and president obama calling on homeland security in the energy department this week to develop better screening technology. joining me live is now clark kent urban with the aspen institute. clark is also the former inspector general at the department of homeland security. as well as clint van zandt, nbc news analyst and former fbi profiler. good morning to both of you. >> good morning. >> clark, what needs to be done in the wake of this attempted attack on christmas day to make sure we are safe? is it this kind of technology being deployed? is that the first step? >> that is a key step, alex. when i was the inspector general at the department of homeland security at its inception in 2003, 2004, we recommended the widespread deployment of whole body imaging because we knew then six years ago that that really could find concealed guns and knives and bombs that cannot be found by these magnetometers.
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here we are only beginning to widely deploy it. we have only 40 of them in 19 airports now, efforts will be redoubled to deploy it. we need more of this. it is only part of the solution. >> yeah. clint, can you go through the new method being tested that would involve himmages images screen? >> when i was an fbi agent in the '80s, we were talking to the israelis and others. plane at that time were going to cuba.were trying to find ways t exclude individuals. as a profiler, you try to push the hot buttons of a person, of a suspect and see if you can bring a rise out of them. what does that rise mean? one of the things we're considering now and i think clark may have had a part of this is in some airports where we think there is a potential for terrorists or something coming through, we might have cameras, we might have -- not cameras but tv monitors where there might be pictures flashed of known terrorists or certain
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political sites or statements or something like that, where if an individual is walking through, most of us, we look up, say i don't know that guy and keep moving. if it was somebody, you know, that hit a cord with us, we might stand there and stare and say, hey, i know that guy, why is his picture there? just body ticks, movement, any activities, this can all play into profiling. alex, we're not saying profile somebody who is a guilty terrorist, we're saying when someone shows an interest in this, there may be something else in his background that says let's take the time and ask him or her a few more questions, maybe do a more detailed search of their luggage before they go on board because this has to be like an onion. we have to have multiple layers of security and we have to use every tool in our tool belt to make this work. >> good point. but, you know, clark, you're going to have privacy advocates saying, okay, too far. how do you respond to that? >> right. as far as the whole body imaging is concerned that i began with,
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all the legitimate privacy concerns have been addressed. the faces are blurred, the person looking at the image is somewhat removed from the checkpoint. you only see an outline, not the genitalia. the image cannot be stored. the legitimate concerns as i say have been addressed. you were talking about threat image projection, those are machines that show up on the screen, concealed guns and knives and bombs. that's a training tool for screeners that we also committed in 2004. it is in use already in airports around the united states. we need to deploy the more widely as well. so technology is a critical part of the solution, but not the only part, of course. >> does it mean putting more money in this area? is there anything else that is a hurdle to keep us from being safe technologiwise? >> alex, the bad news is we'll never be 100% safe. we're sitting around talking about this as the federal government is spending millions and billions of dollars there are terrorists sitting around campfires coming up with new
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ways. we saw this guy a couple of weeks ago on christmas day have an explosive device concealed in part of his, it looks like, his genitalia and he was able to get on the plane. people have been smuggling drugs and diamonds and things like that but putting them in a balloon, swallowing them and retrer retrieving that at some later pont. every time we think of something, they come up with one more way to challenge us. we have got to get a step ahead of them, not a step behind them, but it is all of the personal concerns that we have to deal with at the same time. alex, we normally don't rise to the occasion, so to speak, until the barn has been set on fire. >> yeah. clint van zandt, clark kent urban, thank you for the discussion. appreciate that. still ahead, the search for baby gabriel, the 8-month-old gone for week and his mother now under arrest. police are naming two other people persons of interest. the wild winter. why has it been so cold and snowy and how did the farmer's
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almanac get it so right? racing to the rescue of a horse in distress. and the photo finish on msnbc saturday. ou to stay well this new year. ♪ with the centers for disease control and prevention saying... that vaccination is still your best protection, walgreens and take care clinics... now offer h1n1 flu vaccinations... every day at our more than 7000 locations nationwide... for just $18.00. so stop in today. walgreens. there's a way to stay well. where's my car?!!!! where are you?! arghhh... (announcer) dr. scholl's massaging gel insoles give you outrageous comfort, all-day-guaranteed. woah. it's not too far... (announcer) are you gellin'? dr. scholl's. we should send them overnight with fedex. i already sent them. i didn't use fedex. better cross your fingers. [ man ] oh, yeah, the accident. well, you better knock on wood. remember, we did a green renovation in here,
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there's no wood. but russ bought a rabbit's foot. it's a bear claw. you could throw salt over your shoulder. actually, that's a salt substitute. but you should find dan -- i think he's a leprechaun. what is it about me that says leprechaun? can someone tell me please, someone? you should have used fedex. [ male announcer ] we understand. you need reliable overnight shipping. fedex. announcer: you could buy 300 bottles of water. or just one brita filter. ( drop plinks ) brita-- better for the environment and your wallet.
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let's get more on the deep freeze gripping much of this nation today. it is cold, but also dangerous. as you can see for yourself, what it is like on the streets covered in ice in atlanta. folks in atlanta and across the south got used to this type of winter weather. but are brighter and warmer days coming anytime soon? let's get right to meteorologist bill karins and cross our fingers for the forecast. what do you think? >> it is going to get warmer, probably much warmer by the end of next week. all eyes on central florida this morning. sleet has been reported in many locations and in some instances, even snow flurries.
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if you've ever been in florida in the wintertime this is a big event for these people. temperatures are chilly. at 33 in daytona beach with a report of a mixture of rain and sleet. 35 in orlando, sleet there this morning. even in tampa, we're at 35. in pinellas county, reports of sleet early today. historical rare event for florida. tonight is the concern. we're going to see temperatures, this will be the coldest of the arctic outbreak in florida. so for the trees and the strawberries and orange trees that survive to this point it tomorrow morning that we're concerned with, down to 26 in orlando, 29 there monday morning. how cold will it get? it will be 32 down around ft. myers. miami should be down in the mid-30s tonight with windchill in the 20s. we even expect key west to go down to 48 degrees, which is unheard of for key west. cold air is also arrived in the east. albany, new york, minus two windchill. you see it this morning from boston to philadelphia. windchills in the single digits in many cases. at least it is sunny. sunny doesn't quite feel as bad.
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temperature right now is going to hover around 27 in new york. alex, the worst of this is still up for our friends in bismarck to minneapolis. windchill is still minus 20 to minus 30. and they haven't come close to getting near freezing so far in the new year. probably have to wait until the middle of next week. there is a big warmup coming. this is the last day of the harsh cold. >> okay. bill karins, thank you very much. stick around. i want you to join in with my next guest. no disrespect to you, bill, but it is said that weather forecasters have the one job where you can still be wrong and -- >> we're like baseball players. >> make an error and still have a contract. for one forecaster, really getting it right, you know who? the farmer's almanac that publication has been around since 1818, boasts an 80% accuracy when it comes to predicting the weather. joining me in the stud swroe sa studio is sandy duncan from the farmer's almanac. >> we have been making weather
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predictions since 1818 and we have a formula that takes things like sunspot activity, position of the planet into consideration and we do our best to get people an idea of what may happen six months to 12 months down the road. >> you called this one absolutely correctly. what is causing this cold snap? >> to be honest, i think mother nature may have checked the farmer's almanac this year. we said it would be a frigid winter. in fact we said it would be an ice cold sandwich winter with the fro the brunt of the cold conditions in the middle of the country. it is a big swath of cold, cold air that just keeps dipping lower and lower. and, like i said, i think they have been reading the farmer's almanac. >> bill, do you read the farmer's almanac? >> i get a copy every year. what is the claim to fame going back over the 120 years you've been doing this? >> as far as weather goes? >> yeah. >> we hit a few things on our
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website at, we have a few on the money forecasts. we did predict a hurricane in 2005 in the gulf coast, which was right around when katrina hit. we had called for some other conditions. we called for one of the only rains in the roses of tournament parade a couple of years ago, we warned people should bring their umbrellas to the parade. we do our best and people still look at the forecast. of course, they need you to check out what the local conditions might be, but we go out and give people an idea what might come next october, next june. >> what does the spring look like? when will it warm up? >> 70 days until spring. hang on. according to the farmer's almanac, it look like spring comes in april, will be wet, but will warm right up and summer looks awful hot. >> really? >> yeah. >> i'm not sure like that so much. can you do anything about that, bill? >> i think people in minnesota like that forecast. >> you have a point. okay. sandy duncan, always interesting
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to read the farmer's almanac. >> i'm always here for you. we heard so much about the potential health hazards posed by cell phones. this morning, a new study shows how they may be a life saver in fighting one disease. a star player in the nba, we'll look at why so many professional athletes reportedly feel the need to own guns. it's tough to reach that five servings a day if you don't always like the taste of vegetables. i'll be right back. ok. good thing v8 v-fusion juice gives you a serving of vegetables hidden by a serving of fruit. v8. what's your number? get a $1.00 coupon for v8 v-fusion juice at ♪ well, look who's here. it's ellen. hey, mayor white. how you doing? great. come on in.
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well, this was a fight for life. a horse in slaughter, louisiana, caught in a creek. the volunteer firefighters raced to the scene yesterday, jumped into the frigid waters to save the animal. it took a herculean effort but the brave rescuers managed to get 1200 pound horse back on its feet and returned to a warm stall. no one knows how the horse got loose, but that horse is doing fine today. in a moment, it started as a bitter battle over the custody of a baby boy. he's now missing. his mother's in jail.
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and that's only half the story. also ahead, it is a key ingredient to reviving the economy. are we any closer to finding it? 
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a desperate search going on for an 8-month-old baby boy last seen in late december. arizona police say they're hopeful little gabriel johnson is alive. they have named two people persons of interest in the boy's disappearance. let's get the details from investigative reporter michelle sagona. good morning. >> good morning. >> this is a story with lots of bizarre twists. who are these people? there are a couple. >> there are a couple. they're from arizona originally. and actually they met elizabeth, which is gabriel's mom, at the airport about seven months ago. and what they say and they have come out to say is that she was having a hard time parenting the child and they helped her not only at the airport, but also in the flight back and that elizabeth had kept in touch with them over the months. >> okay.
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police arrested elizabeth last week. where does she fit into all of this in terms of the investigation? >> well, what is interesting is that i actually spoke with gabriel's father, logan, a few days ago. what he said is they had gotten into an argument in early december and that's what triggered this custody battle. he filed paperwork, official paperwork with the courts and was actually -- they had shared custody around the middle. i think it was december 17th of last month. and so he was supposed to have the child on sunday, monday, tuesday and she would have him the rest of the week. she would not turn the child over and then she actually did leave. we do know, arizona, went to texas. and then sent him text messages around december 27th to say that she had killed the baby, that he was not alive and that she suffocated him, put him in a diaper bag and threw him in a dumpster which is traumatic for the father. >> i mean, come on. who does that? >> this is crazy. >> who does that initially, who
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texts that when it is not true. with regard to police saying they think the baby is alive, do you know why? >> well, there are -- there is information, elizabeth shhas spoken out and other people have spoken out to say that they think possibly this child could have been given to another family, maybe another person, another family and that's why they believe this child is alive. the couple, the smiths, have spoken out to say they don't think that elizabeth would ever hurt the child and that she just really wanted to keep him away from logan. as you know, just covering a lot of these custody cases, these -- parents go back and forth and try to hurt the other parent. and that may be the case in this and we're just hoping right now that gabriel is in fact alive. we can get this out to the public so thank you so much for continuing to put gabriel's face out there. and if we can find the right people that they'll pick up the phone, they'll call investigators, and we can get -- rue ene reunite this child back with his
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father. >> thank you for bringing us the latest details. >> have a good weekend. >> thank you. tempe, arizona, police are asking anyone with information about gabriel to call the national center for missing and exploited children. their number 1-800-the-lost. time for your fast five headlines. arctic air invades the deep south. temperatures have plunged into the teens in some parts. and in florida, subfreezing temps are threatening citrus crops. defiant trespass is the charge facing the man accused of breaching security at newark liberty international airport this week. he was arrest eed last night at his new jersey home and released hours later. he faces a fine of up to $500 if convicted. drugs up in smoke. police in peru burning almost five tons of confiscated cocaine. they're waging war against the drug trade. in 2008, police seized more than 38 tons of illegal drugs. in portugal, the parliament passed a bill legalizing same sex marriage. the conservative president is
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expected to sign that bill into law and that would make the predominantly catholic country the sixth in europe to allow same sex marriage. the creator of gumby is dead. art clokey dieing yesterday in california at the age of 88. and those are your fast five headlines. president obama promoting new spending to create tens of thousands of clean technology jobs. the president unveiling that plan after the government released the latest jobs report yesterday where employers cut 85,000 jobs in december. and the unemployment rate held steady at 10%. for more, let's bring in neil irwin, financial reporter for "the washington post." good morning to you. >> good morning, alex. >> for anybody unemployed and looking at this and had the hope with the start of the new year we'll bring new good things is there anything good from these numbers? >> some of the fine print is good. t it looks like the nation added a few thousand jobs in november. that's first time in two years. there is some signs that things
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will get better in the future. temporary employment was up by 47,000 jobs. it looks like businesses aren't willing to hire permanent employees yet, but are willing to bring on temps. that's a good sign for the future. that said, there is no two ways about it, this is a bad report and it shows we're still in a deep hole in the job market. >> i was looking at thursday, neil, not calling you out here but you did write the employment report could be a breakthrough for the u.s. job market. a lot of analysts seemed positive waiting for this report's release. what happened and why were analysts expecting better results? >> you're right. i wrote and it is true that a lot of forecasters were expecting either no job losses or even some job gains, even though we might finally add jobs after this long difficult period. what happened is it is clear employers aren't quite ready to make that plunge yet. so we have seen a big decrease in the number of layoffs. people aren't -- companies aren't cutting jobs the same way they were. what they haven't done is turned and gone the other direction and added people to the payrolls. what they need is apparently
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another couple of months or a period of better sales and signs of this recovery is for real and going to last, you know. businesses don't want to commit to hiring people until they're confident they have the demand and they'll have work for them to do for a long time to come. we thought we would be there in december and we're not. >> where are we going this year? where do you see it heading? >> all the trends point to job growth coming back sometime in the next few months. sometime maybe in the spring, maybe as early as january, february. but the thing is, job growth isn't the same as getting out of this hole we're in. we need to add about 120, 130,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth. you need more than that to fill in this gap we have where we have a 10% unemployment rate. we'll probably see job growth before too much longer. question is when will it be strong enough to really get the economy back on its feet. and that may take longer than that. >> neil, some say this will partially cripple a generation of job seekers. if you look at the teen market right now, they can't find jobs
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because people that would normally be doing a part time scooping job at haagen-dazs, these are parents trying to keep food on the table. >> that's right. and it is even true for recent graduates. you look at from past recessions, somebody who graduates from college in a recession has much worse career prospects over many years than somebody who graduates during an economic boom. this is job one. this is the biggest problem facing the economy is the weakness in the job market. that's why we'll see the administration focus on it a lot the next few weeks. congress will try to do some new programs. it is absolutely a crisis that affects millions and millions of people in very bad ways. >> neil irwin, thank you very much for the candid conversation. a programming note, starting monday, new lineup at msnbc. 9:00 a.m. eastern right after "morning joe," the premiere of "the daily rundown" with white house correspondents chuck todd and savannah guthrie.
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let's get to dylan's picture, you know dylan. anyway, still ahead, the woes of winter. they're just not here in the states. we're go we'll go global to show you others rocked by old man winter. judy, great job on the printing! i'm amanda. tom. james. nice job on the brochures and letterhead. louis, keep up the good work with our shipments. it's -- it's peter. great job, everybody! that's a closet. you know what, guys? take the afternoon off! we can't. that is why i hired you. world's proudest boss. [ male announcer ] we understand. you can never have too much help. fedex office.
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that cold snap that has 60% of the country in its grip is being felt as far south as miami. and now there are concerns for one of florida's biggest cash crops. parts of florida could see historical low temperatures by tomorrow morning. julian martin is in winter garden, florida, for us. with a good morning, you've been in florida throughout this week. i thought that was a plum assignment but it is really cold. >> reporter: yeah. not that plum this morning. in fact, some windchills in the teens here in central florida this morning, alex it is a little warmer now. we're at 34 degrees. light rain, mixing with sleet. so far so good as far as citrus. we really haven't seen too many widespread problems yet. but the real test is going to be
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the next two days. temperatures tomorrow morning and again on monday morning are going to be in the 20s. and all it takes is 28 degrees at about four hours to cause trouble on these trees. of course, this is a huge industry here in the world. in fact, 40% of the world's orange juice comes from central florida. $9 billion industry. so over the past several days, farmers doing everything they can to get this fruit off the trees and into the processing plants, get it on out of here before it does freeze. this could be a historic freeze by the way. the last big one, 1989. we already have seen orange juice prices up as a result. so alex, going to be touch and go over the next couple of days. that's for sure. >> okay. let's hope the temperatures warm up and they can't do it soon enough. thank you, julie martin. let's check out across the pond where europe is also feeling the effects of the freezing cold. britain, which is already deep in its longest cold spell in nearly 30 years, registered its chilliest night yet this season, minus 22.3 degrees celsius.
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the cold has so many on edge, the frustration even came across on a british news cast. >> in october you predicted a mild winter. >> indeed. >> you repeated that again on november 23rd that it would be a mild winter. so i -- given that it is clearly not a mild winter, by any standards, why are you getting a performance-related bonus? >> oh. well, nbc's tom aspell is in london with the latest on that. my goodness. overall what has it been like in europe there, tom? >> well, alex, europe's cold snap has seen snow closing roads and airports across the continent and has icy blizzards from the arctic bring freezing temperatures and misery to millions. in britain, normally mild winters are a memory as schools close and millions stay home from work. local counsels have used up so much gravel on the icy roads that they have been running out of supplies, leaving thousands of secondary roads and sidewalks
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untreated. turning them into sheets of black ice. eurostar, the train service, which links britain to france under the channel, is running on reduced services. in sweden, temperatures dropped 40 degrees below zero putting a strain on energy supplies. heavy snowfall in the czech republic has prompted the government to ban trucks from its roads. spain reports thick snow in catalonia and heavy rains in italy caused concern over rising water levels. venice is facing exceptionally heavy tides. now meteorologists are predicting the cold weather is set to continue at least through the weekend with more snow expected across much of europe. alex? >> and normally over there, tom, you don't see the sun a lot in winter, but it is one of those just damp, overcast, cold but snow is pretty unusual. >> yeah, you're right about that, alex. what is even more unusual is that it has gone on for so long. we're now in the third week of snowfall and that's something that britain hasn't seen for many, many years. >> yeah. all right, well, tom aspell,
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hope you got your boots on when you head outside after work. thank you, tom. now to a so-called cell phone brain boost. researchers at the university of south florida say prolonged cell phone use may help reduce and reverse the effect of alzheimer's disease. yeah. joining me now cleveland, ohio, is dr. alan j. learner, director of the memory and cognition center at university hospital case medical center. dr. learner, good morning to you. >> good morning. >> so if we're hoping to stay sharp in our old age, is this telling us we should pick up a cell phone? >> this is a very early report. and humans are not mice, but it is certainly an intriguing approach to thinking about a very common and major public health problem. >> tell me what the mice showed. >> well, over about the past 15 years, scientists have developed strains of mice that are an animal model for alzheimer's disease. the real advantage of this is that we can test new ideas, new
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treatments in a relatively quick manner without exposing humans to risk. the researchers there used different strains of mice and subjected them to the equivalent of cell phone electromagnetic waves for about seven months. and by the end of the study the findings were that both normal mice as well as nice with alzheimer's genes performed better. >> okay. well, that's got to put a smile on your face, given what you do for a living. do you think this might be able to be adeveloped into something that could actually help the treatment of alzheimer's? >> it certainly is an interesting approach. it is -- it is mice and not humans, and it is only one study, and we have seen many sort of flash in the pan studies. but, you know, i think it certainly bears following up, and although the reaction has been mixed in the scientific community, i think it is a great
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idea. in fact, the scientists started the study with the absolute opposite expectation. they thought that the cell phone was going to make the mice worse. >> and, doctor, to your knowledge, has radiation been used to treat alzheimer's previously? anywhere? >> no. >> do you think this might -- what would it take to have this start being some sort of a prototype of treatment? would that be -- are there a lot of things you have to hurdle before you can do that? >> i don't really think so. i think it would probably be good to see it repeated in different kinds of mice. there are many mouse models of alzheimer's disease. we know that this kind of radiation appears to be safe. i know there has been concerns about the effects of cell phone use on brain tumors. so, but given the widespread usage of it, don't think it would be that difficult to create a human study for this.
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>> yeah. i was just going to go there to the concern of brain tumors. are there different electromagnetic waves that are sent out that would be more directly responsible for what we found out about brain tumors or not? >> well, they used standard cell phone kind of waves here in this study. >> very interesting. dr. alan j. learner, thank you for joining us there from the case medical center. we appreciate that. >> my pleasure. thank you. in a moment, star nba players gun play and horse play gets them into trouble. we'll look at the bigger issue of guns in sports here on msnbc saturday.
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well, in southern florida, it was man versus alligator. a trapper called out to a canal near an elementary school. residents saw the 8 1/2-foot-long creature and called for help big time. it took that trapper about 25 minutes to capture the gator and get him out of harm's way of those kids. off the court. the nba has suspended washington
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wizards guard gilbert arenas indefinitely. the three-time all-star admitted to bringing four unloaded guns into the team's locker room as part of a dispute with a teammate. joining me now, dave zirin, author of "people's history of sports in the united states." great to have you here in person. >> good to be here in the studio. >> instead of the cross talk from d.c. >> that's right. >> let's talk about what happened here. >> absolutely. what we're talking about here was a horrible practical joke gone awry. >> yeah. >> gilbert arenas brought in four unloaded guns after a gambling dispute with a teammate, jafevarris crittenton. he supposedly said i'm going to shoot you in the knee, jokingly. so arenas brought in four guns and said "pick one," in which case crittenton picked one and threw it across the locker room. now others are saying arenas
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chambered a bullet in his gun. it's a confusing mess, a terrible embarrassment for the franchise and gilbert is paying terribly for it now. >> what it also sheds light on is reports -- i mean, was it devin harris with the nets? >> devin harris, yeah. >> here's the deal, 70% of the players in the nba are carrying guns or have people around them carrying guns. is that true? what does that say? what is that about? >> i'm not sure the percentage is true, but when i talk to nba players, the reason why a lot of them carry guns or have friends that carry guns, it's much less rooted into what you're hearing in the media, like it's a thug fantasy or anything like that or urban pathology or whatever code words are used for young black males and it's much more rooted in a dark paranoia about the fact that they feel like they have targets on their backs. and in recent years -- >> legit reasons? >> in recent years, there have been high-profile violent actions against nba players, home invasions against antoine walker and eddy curry, tied up and robbed, stephon marbury
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robbed at gun point, paul pierce stabbed numerous times in a club and a lot of players feel like they have targets on their backs, and when you talk too them, and i don't say this as a compliment, they sound like nla members, saying we have to bear arms, it's our right, our families are threatened. unfortunately, i think statistics show that's not the best way to defend your family is owning a gun. >> but when i go to the knicks games, go to the garden, i get screened, i mean, i have everything looked at, i'm padded down if i'm wearing a big coat or something. how do the guys get the guns into the arena? >> they go through the tunnels, around the metal detectors and that's different. one of the players said we might have to start going through the metal detectors now, because no nba player, even those who are second amendment enthusiasts who talk about their guns, none of them want a situation where they're bringing guns to the locker room. the locker room is a sanctuary, a safe space and people don't want it to change. >> what does the commissioner, david stern, have to say about
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this? >> i think he's doing it completely wrong. they're planning on doing an intervention around gambling. look, they have tons of disposal income and empty time to waste on the road. playing cards in the nba goes back as long as peach baskets, and what david stern is talking about in terms of banning gambling doesn't get at the root of the problem. instead, he should do a serious intervention where they talk to players about what it means to get a home security system or hiring professional bodyguards and not feel like they have to take their security into their own hands. >> i was going to say, what about team owners, security, management at all the different arenas, should they just step up security? armed guards? >> i don't know what they're going to have to do, but one of the great appeals of the nba is the closeness and the proximity between fans and players. >> right, right. >> fweel like we know these guys, and that's -- >> high-five people walking onto the court. >> exactly. >> they fall on to you with the shot -- >> if that's not shaquille o'neal, that's usually a lot of fun. so, it would be nice if they could break this up a bit and have this thing where good
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intervention can happen around handgun intelligence and not an overreaction. >> i think when you really want like nate robinson. that one doesn't hurt too much. >> yeah. he's a great guy, actually. >> he is a great guy, i agree. dave zirin, thank you very much. we love having you here in the city. >> my privilege, alex. today's top stories are coming your way in just a moment, including the big freeze blanketing more than half of this country. so, when will the cold ease? and it's motoring madness. a guy goes through the sun roof in a display of dangerous and just flat out stupid driving. yeah. 90 miles an hour, too. did we tell you that? you're watching "msnbc saturday." [ female announcer ] swiffer dust & shine
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